Today was focused on education. We started off with a lecture about the education system in England. I learned that at age 16, secondary education formally ends and individuals can leave school. However, they cannot leave education until age 18, so they must either continue with college or start an apprenticeship, training, etc. I found this interesting because I did not think that the US had the rule that education must continue until 18. However, after looking it up, I found that students in the US can legally leave school at age 16 or 17, but a few states require mandatory education until age 18.
Furthermore, I learned that the United Kingdom has a national curriculum. This was created with the goal of increasing the amount of equality because before the national curriculum, you could get a very different educational experience based on where you went to school. The idea was that every child would have access to the same education, but I wonder why there are still disparities in education. I remember yesterday, we looked at the chart that compared students with high IQs from both high and low socioeconomic status at an early age of 2 years old to students with low IQs from both high and low socioeconomic status at the same age. It should be that every student stays in the general range of the IQ they had at this young age. However, the wealthy students with low IQs ended up surpassing the poor students with high IQs. This is definitely a problem, and I wonder if this has to do with the quality of schools these children with low socioeconomic status have access to.
The next lecture we had was about early childhood experiences. I found it very interesting that once the child turns 3 families are entitled to 30 hours of free child care. Also, most children start school in September after their fourth birthday. I believe this is a year earlier than the US, and I wonder if starting school a year earlier really makes a difference in these students educational development. Also, the speakers explained how at the age of 5, education begins to be formalized with literacy hours, getting books, etc. I wonder if putting students under high academic pressure at such a young age has a negative affect on other aspects of their development whether that be socially or emotionally.
I was so surprised to hear the story of the lecturer’s little brother who was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. She said that he started going to the GP when he was 2, but didn’t receive a diagnosis until he was 7 years old. This is really upsetting. She said that he wasn’t receiving the correct support in the early years. I know she discussed this a little bit, but I am curious why it took so long to get a diagnosis and why the GP was so hesitant to give a diagnosis when something was obviously going on with this boy. I wonder how our early year support in the US compares and if we have similar issues with taking too long to diagnose kids.
Furthermore, they talked about the idea of behavior in early education. I had not been thinking about behavior as a sign of another cognitive problem, so I found this interesting. They explained how a lot of the times, challenging behavior is a result of not having the cognitive ability and lacking the awareness of what is socially acceptable behavior, or struggling to express their emotions. I think the first thing that is usually done in schools when a child is not behaving well is yelling at them or putting them in a “time out.” This definitely is not good for them and will just make them more upset and confused, but I wonder if there is a perfect solution to dealing with poorly behaved kids because it is hard to find a balance between making sure they are not being a harm to other children in the classroom and making sure the punishment is not exacerbating stuggles the bully is already experiencing.
Another thing from this lecture that I found interesting was the idea of supporting young carers in schools. This is about finding out which students are carers to parents or have responsibilities at home. I wonder if the US has ever thought about implementing something similar because I think it is really important to address. The US does not have support like this for children, and social services does not kick in until there is a crisis. However, I wonder if most of the students who are young carers in the UK are supported because it seems as though with other services, such as receiving mental health therapy, there is a long backlog and many students who need support are not receiving it.
Overall, I learned a lot today and I enjoyed being an education major for the day!!